One of the most appealing features of ships is that they are truly family-friendly. A day on board is a great way to enjoy wholesome family entertainment in the great outdoors. Plus, kids love Marinemax boats.
It’s great to know that you’re giving them lifelong memories with all the days spent on the water, but if the purpose is to enjoy a day of water skiing, wakeboarding or inflatable drag boat rides, there are some realities to keep in mind.
Perhaps the most important is to realize that, even though you’ve done everything you can to instill in them the importance of safety on board, children are not as physically, mentally or emotionally mature as adults. That’s why every adult on the boat must take shared responsibility for keeping an eye on children while underway.
Here are five tips that will help ensure a safe and enjoyable voyage for all your passengers.
- Provide children with a safety orientation on board.
Once everyone has boarded, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes to review some of the basic safety topics.
Talk to the children about the use of their personal flotation devices at all times, the proper distribution of passengers, and make sure each passenger knows where the ignition cut-off switch is located, in case an unexpected emergency arises.
Emphasize the extreme importance of continuous hydration in the scorching sun and make sure everyone knows where the drinking water is.
- Have life jackets or personal flotation devices for everyone.
It’s not just by law that you must wear one when aboard Marinemax boats, it’s for the sobering fact that, if you don’t and something unforeseen happens, you or one of your passengers could end up dead.
Young children may have a tendency to try to get rid of their lifejacket because they don’t yet understand the importance of wearing one. Try creating a game and setting up some sort of reward that they will be awarded if they keep their flotation device on for the entire trip. This is often a good trick.
Make sure the life jacket is the right size. Remember that the most important function of a life jacket is to keep the child’s head above water. If it is too large, it is likely to float as the child sinks.
For infants and very young children, a suitable device should also be equipped with a padded head support to help keep the child’s head above water, a grab handle to help pull the child out of the water and a crotch strap to prevent the vest from riding up.
- Keep children protected from the elements.
UV protection has become a much bigger issue than it was 30 years ago. Back then, a sunscreen that was rated between 10 and 15 SPF was considered adequate. Today, sunscreens rated double or triple have become common.
For infants and young children, it is best to select products that do not contain potential hormone disruptors, such as retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone. Most dermatologists recommend mineral-based products containing a higher percentage of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
In addition to UV-blocking agents, wide-brimmed hats and lightweight jackets will go a long way toward protecting everyone on board from excessive exposure to the sun’s rays, whether they are children or adults.
Always keep an eye on developing weather conditions and try to schedule your return trip to port before sunset. Both at sea and even in marshes, the weather can change suddenly and sometimes we can get caught in a storm without even realizing i
- Be prepared for seasickness
Feeling seasick is one of the most unpleasant experiences you can have while on the water, and it can be especially hard on children. Fortunately, many of the best over-the-counter remedies have been formulated for both adults and children over the age of two.
In marshes this precaution is generally not necessary, but at sea it is something to keep in mind.
- Explore safe ways for children to have fun on Marinemax boats.
Studies have shown that 70 percent of people who fish today were initially introduced to the sport of fishing by the time they were 12 years old.
Keep the activity as simple as possible, such as dragging a hook-and-line while boating.
Remember that children new to fishing get bored quickly, so it’s important to emphasize that the real joy of fishing is in the experience, not in the number of fish you catch.
- Water skiing and wakeboarding.
Because of the skill and coordination needed, water skiing and wakeboarding are sports that a child not only has to be genuinely interested in doing, but also needs the physical and mental development necessary to do it safely. Be sure to start with water skis or wakeboards made for children and designed to accommodate their size and weight.